Monday, June 30, 2008


We had a great day. Six hours of creativity. We did nothing but create fabric paper, but, of course, it took a trip to the dollar store to get the supplies necessry to make the fabric paper. I came home with five pieces, but I think that only four of them will be usable. One piece just isn't good enough. However, I can cut it up and use it as the base for the creation of the next layer within the collage. Before I left it was obvious that we're apporaching the next layer ( the one that shows) quite differently. I'm always amazed at how different we are in approach even when we are basically using similar techniques and sharing supplies. So, over all a great day and not at all what I expected.

Studio Day-Anticipation

Yes, I have a studio day with a friend planned for today! DH plans to go along and, after dropping me off, he is going to our DD's new house to paint. I'm all "a twitter" trying to figure out what to take with me to work on. My friend doesn't know it, but we're going to spend some time going through her stash looking for stuff that could be used in a collage. Now, given the size of my friend's stash, that could take all week, but we'll try to control ourselves. So I decided to try my hand at thread painting. I have a sun print of lizards that I'm going to "tart up". I have the most recent issue of Quilting Arts Magazine that has an article on a less dense type of thread painting that just might work with the lizards. We may even tryo our hands at makign fabric paper. All of this means that I'm going to have to pack up everything but the kitchen sink! Better get busy.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here is collage number two. I had more luck with this one as I was able to correct the mistakes I made in no 1. I really have to say that they look much, much better when you can see the real thing. Both of them have a very strong golden impact that just doesn't come up in the pictures.

first collage

Here is my first collage. I wish you could get a better view of it, but I figure I'm lucky to have got it posted in the first place, so I'm not going to mess with it. Now that I take a good look, I realize that I didn't take a very good picture. I'll have to try again.

Plumbers and rain

Yes--we've had more than enough of both. Yesterday, we were up by 5:30, and down to the lake to meet a plumber by 9:00. (a longer trip because, of course, we had to stop at Tim Horton's for take away breakfast and then Wal-mMart to by candies for sustenance on the road) Then family has agreed to put out money to pay someone to come in and sort out our water supply down there. We are getting a little desperate. There is a huge crack ( hole??) in the tank of the toilet. My neice tells us that she and her children run the pump long enough to fill a 5 gallon pail that they keep in the shower ( because we can't run enough water to ever have a shower). When they need to flush the toilet they transfer water from the pail into the toilet bowl for the flush. Now--I personally prefer to use the little house up the path. It would also be nice to have running water-even cold water- in the summer kitchen. However, the pipes from the pump are held together with duct tape,and we are afraid to put any pressure on them for fear that the whole thing explodes and the house is washed away down the hill.

The plumber's estimate was over $6000. And it's still raining--has been for a week and the forecast is for more.

Then I spent the afternoon waiting to see a doctor in Urgent care because of a dislocated finger. After 5 1/2 hours he told me that the xrays were fine. I hate being treated like an ignorant fool. The darn thing is still quite swollen and the whole hand ached. Then it was off to a friend's surprise 60th birthday party. DH brought clothes when he came to pick me up at the hospital. I changed in the washroom, and because of time constaints, and the price of gas, he drove me over, then parked just around the block while I went to the party. So, of course, once th surprize was over, I felt too guilty to stay( and the hand is still throbbing). Last evening I had strong drink before bed.

But on Wednesday and Thursday I put together five sunprinted wall hanging tops. I have them spray basted and now just have to do the quilting and bind them. Two of them are at the binding stage. I'm pleased with this bunch. However, now we're off to grocery shop (in the rain).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yes, Yes, Yes...

I've almost finished the second collage and it's just as pleasing as the first one. I'll be able to incorporate a hanging mechanism into this one. However, reality intrudes and now I have to get back to more serious work. I've realized that I can't ignore my deadlines any more. The next step is --pictures!! My nemesis! Can't be avoided. My Snowdrifts hanging needs to get off to BC for the show in Seattle in August. So I have to compete the customs declarations and that means that I have to get a picture to attach to each and every copy. I'm also at the picture stage with my class proposal for Regina. I'll maybe try to get pictures of my collages as well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Still Vegging?

Maybe not--I don't know. Spent yesterday morning sitting in a coffee shop with a very dear friend. We have known each other for over 30 years. There have been times when we didn't see each other for a few years at a stretch, but then when we got together, it was like we had never been apart. She retired at the end of May, and has found the transition difficult. I tried to point out that she is probably going through a grieving process, and that this will take time. But it sounds as though her DH has made the transition a little quicker, and that this has put them at odds. Then I had a studio visitor in the afternoon. She didn't stay long, just came to pick up something, but it was a bit of a break anyway. Then supper. Well, I haven't had to think about planning and preparing an evening meal for over a week. And for me, this is a habit that has proven easy to break. ( Don't I wish they were all that easy to break!)

I finished the first collage that was inspired by the Beryl Taylor book. I'me very, very pleased but have yet to figure out how to hang it. I had thought about mounting it on a stretched canvas, but it's an odd size. so that would mean having a canvas custom made for it. I haven't a clue how expensive that might be. At this point I'm just going to put a couple of curtain rings on the back..just to use while I figure out something else. So--nothing on tv--I started a second one. I had the pieces layed out, before I went to bed, and, of course, my brain was in gear all night, and I'm having second thoughts. The book was all about layering and miniscule details, and I had started to simplify, in my planning. So I'll take another look this morning. The third one I had planned is taking off in a completely different direction--it may well end up as a thread painting instead of a collage. Of course, then I would have to learn to thread paint!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


They are moved. Situation not helped by a nasty hail storm late in the afternoon. but everyone's safe, and the furniture didn't get wet. Do now DH and I plan to spend a couple of days just "vegging out". We'll almost have to because I left my car keys at the new house (lol).

Friday, June 20, 2008

into the home stretch

We've spent this week painting and packing and babysitting for my DD and her family. It's been along time since we worked this hard. Both DH and I had had it by about 3:00 this afternnoon. the actual move is tomorrow. My DD is quite firm that she doesn't expect either DH or myself to do any heavy work tomorrow. There is still some painting to do, but I sure hope he isn't planning to try to do it while furniture is moving in or out. I'm told that my job will be to keep the two children out of the way. That might prove to be a harder job than anything else! At least at the new house, there is a big back yard with toys in it, although the baby won't be able to be out in the sun at all. It's very hot here, and we're getting humidex warnings. Still, I guess that's better than trying to move in the rain.

My DD and her family rarely start the day much before 10:00, so I've had a little bit of time in the mornings to get into my studio. I bought the book "Mixed Media Explorations" by Beryl Taylor, and I've been trying some of her techiques. Most of her work is based on fabric paper, which I've made, used and taught before. However, she uses thinner glue than I'm used to, and heavier paper than I'm used to. So I went to Michael's and bought several sheets of scrapbooking paper that were on sale, just to play with. I'm now about half done my first project, and I have to admit, that it's been a long time since I've been challenged quite this much. At the same time, the indivdual techniqes are fairly simple. What makes it different is the way she incorporates several techniques into the same project. Her work is very carefuly planned and very, very detailed--neither of which are my strong suits. And I'm sure there must be 200 things I should be doing other than playing with this. I was able to show an artist, whose work I admire,a couple of my sample pieces from the book. Iwas told that they were works of art just as they are, and that I was to matt them and sell them. Quite a validation, and I may just try it. Oh, oh--am I moving even deeper into mixed media stuff? My Gosh--can altered books be far behind?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Busy, busy day. The local Embroiderers' Guild was holding a jury process for a fairly big show they are mounting in September. We had to take any pieces we were entering to a location on the opposite side of town--a 45 minute drive--and they were taking entries as of 8:30 am. Then back to a Quiliters Guild meeting by 9:00 on this side of town. The quilters meeting had a sort of "free-for-all" day where anyone who wanted to reserve a table and sell things, could. So I shared a table with another woman who took much nicer things than I did. We had a sort of trunk show given by the nicest lady. She appears to be a bit of a "flower child", but is a formally trained artist who stumbled into quilting about 8 years ago. Since then she has been taking all sorts of prizes and awards, actually winning Best of Show at our recent quilt show. Few of us knew anything about her-so we invited her to do this trunk show. It really blew me away. I've been doing this sort of thing for 45 years and I'll never be able to match her work. She went through the whole process from photo or sketch, to pattern development, and then the final work.

It makes me wonder if I might not be wise to spend a little more time on developing my patterns and designs, before I start the actual work. I've been leaning this way lately, and have a couple of sketch books I've been using.

Anyway, following the meeting, and after a lunch that the Guild provided, I did a demo on sunprinting, which was made interesting by the rain outside. Since I had 5 wet, hand painted pieces that had to be cured somehow, I drove home after the meeting and set them up in my basement under the full spectrum lights. Then it was off to the local embroidery store--another 40 minute trip through construction zones. This shop was recently sold, and former customers had been sent letters offering special discounts, and a chance to sign up first for the new classes being offered, on Saturday afternoon, although the official opening of the new store isn't until Monday. Imagine my surprize when I discovered that I am teaching one of the classes--a complete shock to me. So it looks like there are negotiations in my future. Then it was off to pick up my pieces at the embroiderers jury site--another 40 minute drive. But--they accepted four of my pieces.

I was absolutely beat when I got home, and had made enough selling my junk that I was able to take DH out for supper--no way I could have cooked it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A trip today

Off to the lake. The weather has been terrrible--cold, rainy, and strong wind. So we loaded down with jackets, and coffee makings etc. We stopped at Tim Horton's to buy lunch, and instead of our usual sandwich bought chili to go. Well, by the itme we got down there-113 miles east, the weather was beautiful. Not hot but very pleasant. It only took a few minutes to tear down the wood heater we were planning to get rid of ( at the requestof the insurance company), and we discovered that we weren't going to be able to get the water running. The tap in the kitchen of the cottage had broken off last fall, and no-one told us. So there was no way to turn the water on. This meant that we drove for almost 5 hours (round trip) and spent 30 minutes working. Saw some very strange mushrroms growing. I've never seen any like this before. My SIL told me that, while he was out guiding, the cook had prepared a dish with wild Morels, and I have to wonder if that was what I saw. Dark brown and very ripply and convoluted. I seem to remember that I once read that they were somewhat similar in appearance to a deadly fungus-Death Angel- or something like that. So guess I have to do some research before I tell anyone about them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kids and Cats

I thought being a grandparent was all about making cookies and watching Mom change diapers. Not So! Tonight we will be babysitting our two youngest grandchildren, while their parents go to a seminar on hip dysplasia in dogs. This sad because their beautiful black Lab has been diagnosed, and it means the end of their dreams of a champion dog and the start of a breeding program. He has already won just about every field trial he has entered and they had really high hopes for this very well trained and beautiful animal. Then I got a call from my DS asking if we would baby sit his elderly cat for a couple of days while he has his hardwood floors re-finished? Now we haven't had a cat in a very long time, we both are a little allergic to them, and have been enjoying the freedom of not having to worry about animals. However, it's only for a couple of days. So then we started to talk about how much trouble a small, frightened animal could get into as my studio and all of the storage areas are open. And we can't take anything out to the garage as it's full of all of my DD's stuff awaiting her move next week. This means spending the day re-organizing the basement.

Then to add insult to injury, I'm trying to arrange a coffee/lunch get together wih a very dear friend who will be moving out of the area in a couple of months. Neither of us can seem to find time because both of us are tied up with children and grandchildren!!

I spent most of yesterday working on a hand made box that I was hoping to use as a sample in a potential class I want to teach. I've devoted almost 30 hours to this box--and it's not working. I'll be starting over again. But, at least, I know some of the pitfalls. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Almost a Perfect Day

Yesterday I went out to a small nearby town to participate in an art sale, with an artists' co-op I belong to. When we got here, we found a little confusion, and I quickly saw that the day was not going to go as I had expected. So I relaxed and went with the flow. We did not have nearly the room we had thought we would get, so the seven of us were forced to split up and some of us move to another building. Interesting in that I said I would move but I didn't want to be the only one over there. I thought it would be better if half of us were in one building and half in the other. Well, the only one to join me turned out to be a wood carver. She does the most interesting little fairy houses out of cottonwood bark. The painters and sketchers were in the other building. So here we are on the porch of an old house that has been turned into a museum of pioneer days. Now, I had gone with the goal in mind of testing out the new configuration and lighting system for my booth. No Power. Okay, forget the lighting. A long narrow area. Okay, just set up any way you can, and that involved moving a lot of furniture.

So DH and I and the carver spent the afternoon sitting on this lovely porch, on a beautiful summer day. People came and went and most stopped to chat. I found out all about the history of the house, and the efforts of the museum volunteers to get the whole museum operating. (It's been a real challenge for them as they are too small to be eligible for any government grants, and must rely purely donations of time and money). I found out more than I ever wanted to know about the garbage system and dumping rules of the area. I found out about how willow trees should never be planted near a septic field, and what's involved in solving problems when they do. All in all, we had a thoroughly pleasant afternoon.

I actully sold one hanging for $45.00. I hadn't really expected to sell anything, so this was "found" money. And it wasn't really enough to make any difference to our life over the next little while. So on the way home we stopped at the casino and, between the two of us, made the $45.00 last over an hour. ( DH's pay for all the work he had done out at the sale).

Then off to watch my oldest DGD in a dance recital. In the first half she danced in five numbers and did an excellent job. I got to sit next to my DGS and quite a chat about dragons. However, I was really tired, and left at intermission, as my DGD wasn't going to be on anymore, and DGS was not feeling well and went to sit backstge with his father.

Since I had taken an allergy pill earlier in the day, I was able to have a small glass of brandy. As I sat to sip it while watching tv, I found a Bachman/Cummings concert on PBS out of Detroit. Now, can I ask for a better end to my day than watching Bachman/Cummings, including interviews, while sipping brandy?

Friday, June 6, 2008


When I think about my life I realize how much my activities have been driven by other people's expectations. And it's other people's expectations that have painted me into the corner I'm in. The choice is to either meet those expectations or to maybe lose very dear friends--and I don't have a lot of friends. But meeting expectations causes me stress--and I don't respond well to stress--usually my response is physical. I get ill or I start to lose my hair ( I'm not joking), or I develop a rash. Well, I've been ill for almost two weeks, and I notice my hair getting thinner. Can a rash be far behind? But I promised to keep trying to get the job done. So I'll carry on a little longer.

My most recent collage--as yet un-named-- is going to be just as great as I had thought. I have hopes of finishing it today, so that I can take it to the sale tomorrow. I keep referrring to it as "Son of Magnolia and Blue", but it's really a little too feminne to be a son so it must be a daughter. I also had a idea based on the comments of a friend when she saw one of my other hangings. My sunprints and collages are not very sophisticated. What if Imade some other types of collages in a more sophisticated palette, and with a more subdued design. Would this appeal to a totally different type of client? I want to explore this idea, but it would take a fair bit of time to develop designs and make up a few prototypes to display. I'll have time to do this in the fall. Most of my scheduled sale days are at the height of summer, and in "cottage country", so what I have now will be quite suitable. If I get one or two of the other types of pieces, I can still take them and check the reaction of shoppers.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Life gets in the Way

Frustrating! I want to create and my toilet needs cleaning. I think that says it all.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Comfort Zone?

I've been working on my most recent vermillion collage. I tried green leaves, and wasn't happy, and then I found the most interesting flower. It's a light, creamy, green, and has enough layers that I can make four flowers to put on the the collage. When I "auditioned" it, I absolutely fell in love with it. My only reservation is that it is somewhat similar to Magnolia and Blue, in the basic design. So, have I found a comfort zone, that I'm having trouble moving out of? Or have I found my niche? IMHO this is much more pleasing than Magnolia and Blue, and I'm certainly going to finish it. Then I have an idea for a black and white piece, in response to a black and white challenge, from one of my Yahoo groups. So when do I settle down and do the serious work? Procrastinating again? I hate deadlines!!